Massachusetts State Bankruptcy Laws


What Are The Massachusetts Bankruptcy Exemptions?

MassachusettesMassachusetts law protects all or a portion of your property from being seized by creditors or the bankruptcy trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are generally allowed to keep all of your assets and property. Certain exceptions may apply, so its wise to consult with a Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney to find which of your assets will be protected in a bankruptcy filed in Massachusetts. In general, the major Massachusetts bankruptcy exemptions include:

General Massachusetts Exemptions
Real Estate (the Homestead Exemption)
Up to $500,000 in equity in land and buildings can be protected.

A provision in the new bankruptcy law caps the homestead exemption at $125,000 if you have not lived in the state for at least 40 months prior to the time you file a bankruptcy petition. In some situations, the cap may be permanent. You should consult with a Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney for specific information.

Automobiles
Up to $700 of equity in one motor vehicle can be protected.
Other Property
100 percent of wearing apparel, beds and bedding; $3,000 in household furniture; bibles, and books not exceeding $200 in value; $500 in tools, implements and fixtures and $500 in materials and stock necessary for carrying on trade or business; boats, fishing tackle and nets not exceeding $500; and $125 of cash, savings or other deposits in a banking institution.

In Massachusetts, you have the choice of electing the federal exemption statutes rather than the Massachusetts state exemptions. Consult with a Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney for more details.

View the complete list of Massachusetts bankruptcy exemptions

Please remember that this page provides general information only, and is not intended to provide legal advice. The information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified bankruptcy attorney. If you need legal assistance, consult an attorney.

Which state's exemption laws apply in your bankruptcy?

MassachusettesGenerally, the laws of the state in which you lived for the 730 days (2 years) prior to filing a bankruptcy petition will apply in your bankruptcy.

If you have not lived in the same state for the 2 years immediately prior to filing your bankruptcy petition, the laws of the state in which you lived for the majority of the 180-day period preceding the 2-year period will likely apply.

If application of the preceding general rules renders you ineligible for exemptions under any states laws, you may be allowed to choose the federal exemptions applicable in your bankruptcy.

Is Massachusetts a Community Property State?

No, Massachusetts is not a community property state. Because it is not a community property state, you will be responsible for your spouses debts only if you voluntarily assumed those debts by, for example, co-signing on a loan given to your spouse. In a non-community property state, one spouse can file for bankruptcy and be eligible to eliminate all of their unsecured debts without the involvement of the other spouse.

How did your senator vote on the new bankruptcy laws?

Following years of intense lobbying by creditors, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). How did your Senators vote on these largely pro-creditor provisions?

Kennedy (D-MA) - NAY
Kerry (D-MA) - NAY

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court Locations:

United States Bankruptcy Court
1101 Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Federal Building
10 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02222-1074
(617) 565-8950

United States Bankruptcy Court
Donahue Federal Building

595 Main Street, Room 211
Worcester, MA 01608-2076
(508) 770-8900

Barnstable Town Hall
376 Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601-3917

United States Bankruptcy Court
Federal Building and Courthouse

1550 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01103

Note: You may not have to actually go to one of the above bankruptcy courts. Trustees often conduct your meeting at a local venue.

Although bankruptcy is federal law, the bankruptcy courts in each jurisdiction have local rules that must be followed. A local bankruptcy attorney will be familiar with the specific rules in your area.

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Attorney Locations:

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Bankruptcy Laws in Your State